Cold calling, the practice of randomly calling prospective clients to pitch a product or service, was formerly one of the primary methods that sales representatives used to generate leads. However, with the advent of “Sales 2.0” practices, many lead generation services argue that traditional cold calling has become an ineffective practice that should be abandoned.
Sales 2.0 strategies for nurturing a company’s interaction with clients in the digital age, and cold calling, however, need not be mutually exclusive lead-generation practices. Instead, when practiced efficiently alongside other lead generation techniques, cold calling can be an effective means of garnering prospective client leads.
One key tactic is focusing on quality over quantity, targeting those who have expressed an interest in your company or who are decision-makers for their businesses – known as “intelligent calling.”
Another useful practice is to align your sales and marketing teams. Once marketing has nurtured sales-ready leads, the sales team should then immerse them in the sales pipeline beginning with a call to assess a purchase-ready prospect.
Lastly, combining cold calling with modern lead generation techniques, such as tracking leads’ online interactivity, post retweets or LinkedIn page views, are subtle online gestures that provide solid reasons to give them a ‘cold’ call.
Cold calling should not be random and uncalculated. Employing a few proven strategies can heat up your cold calls and accelerate your success rate.
Frank Paterno is vice president of marketing at Intelliverse and oversees marketing for the Intelliverse family of companies.
Fraud and embezzlement doesn’t just happen to big companies. Even if you don’t have a ton of money in your bank account, you could be affected by employee fraud and lose enough to put your company out of business. According to experts, internal fraud costs companies 3 to 5 percent of revenue each year—that’s a lot if you’re a small business trying to make it in a tough industry. Studies show employee fraud and embezzlement tend to rise during hard economic times and recent economic conditions mean some of even your most trusted employees may be desperate enough to not be able to resist temptation. Unfortunately recovery rates are low—only 20 to 40 percent of companies will recover any of the embezzled money.
Who are these employees stealing from their companies? A recent study found some surprising statistics: Employee embezzlers were more likely to be Female (64 percent); Working in finance, bookkeeping or accounting (66 percent); and acting alone (84 percent).
How can you prevent this from happening to your business? Enact the following in your company:
- Have clear procedures and policies when a task has anything to do with bookkeeping or handling money. Limit the number of people who have access to bank accounts and checks. If your business deals with cash registers, have a system in place so you know who was handling the money at every minute of the day. Make sure everyone in the company is aware of who has access to what so everyone can be a watchdog for your company. Then make it a policy make copies of all checks, voided checks, bank statements, petty cash receipts and other financial records. Also, make sure it is clear what the repercussions are if an employee is caught stealing.
- When you’re hiring, check the candidate’s references for money handling and ask the former employer if there were ever any missing funds. If you’re unsure, you can always hire a company to perform background checks for you.
- Don’t let any one employee work in a vacuum. Train more than one person to handle accounts payables, receivables, journal entries and banking.
- Hire an outside auditor to periodically go over your books and make sure everything looks up to snuff.
- Be your own watchdog and ask to look over the bookkeeping and checks spontaneously. Your bookkeeper should know they could be held accountable at a moment’s notice.
If you suspect an employee is embezzling from you, never confront the employee alone. If you think the person unstable, call in a police officer to be there and also your company’s attorney.